The Centre for Civic Religious Literacy is led and supported by an esteemed Board of Directors and Advisors who are specialists and committed to promoting understanding.
Board of Directors
Shauna Van Praagh, Chair of the Board
Shauna Van Praagh is a Professor of Law at McGill University, where she has taught and researched since 1993, and served as Associate Dean, Graduate Studies in Law, from 2007 to 2010. A graduate of University of Toronto (BSc 1986, LLB 1989) and Columbia University (LLM 1992, JSD 2000), she clerked for Chief Justice of Canada Brian Dickson in 1989-1990. Her areas of research and expertise include religion and law, children and law, and legal education. In 2017, she received the One World Award from Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in recognition of her contributions to community and outreach.
Balpreet Singh Boparai
Since 2009, Balpreet Singh has been legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada. He previously practiced for a boutique disability and human rights law firm in Toronto and now focuses on human rights law and religious accommodation. He has resolved several key accommodation issues for Sikhs in Canada, including accommodation for the wearing of the kirpan in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia courthouses, on VIA Rail trains, as well as in Canadian embassies and consulates internationally. He currently serves as a director for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and is regularly consulted on Sikh issues in Canada by national media outlets.
Bryan Hillis recently retired as Professor of Religious Studies at Luther College, University of Regina. During his tenure, he was head of the UR Religious Studies department, Dean (1995-2005) and President of Luther College (2010-2020). Graduating from the UR, he completed graduate work at the University of Manitoba before attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar graduating with an MA in Theology (1981). After some time in the corporate world, he returned to studies at the University of Chicago, receiving his PhD in 1988 in the History of Christianity under the mentorship of Martin E. Marty. His teaching and publishing interests include world religions, religion in Canada and Christian theology.
Siebren Miedema is Emeritus Professor in Religious Education in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and Emeritus Professor in Educational Foundations in the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has published numerous books, chapters and articles both in academic and professional journals and newspaper articles and gave numerous lectures all over the globe. His main research topics are: personhood formation from an inter-worldview perspective; the interrelated positioning of worldview education in the public, the social and the private domain, and the concept of worldview citizenship education within liberal-democratic societies.
Uzma Majeed joins the CCRL with over 25 years of multi-faceted experience in administration, management and service acquired from working in various disciplines and environments within the public, private and academic sectors. She is currently a Research Administrator at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management where she provides support to faculty members by facilitating and propelling the researchers’ funding through varying initiatives and enhancing the presence of faculty researchers locally, nationally and internationally. Uzma is passionate about initiatives that aim to advance knowledge, understanding, and well-being. She is grateful to be able to support these initiatives through service in both her professional and personal life.
Blair Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation. He attended Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School and Campion Collegiate then went on to obtain his Bachelor’s degree from McGill, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from University of Regina. In 1976 Blair joined the First Nations University of Canada as its first faculty member. He has been Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development responsible for construction of the university’s facility. Major publications include Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion,(1997) a history book which won national attention; The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006) a study of Canadian Indigenous higher education policy; and the biography Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way on the life of the internationally renowned singer which has received awards and his latest work The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality which relates the teachings of Indigenous Elders is published by the University of Regina Press in 2016. Blair resides in Regina with his wife and 3 adult children.
Myōkyō Judith McLean
Myōkyō Judith McLean was born in Aylmer, Quebec, and lived in several provinces and the NWT. In 1980, Myōkyō began Rinzai Zen practice with Kyozan Joshu Roshi. Ordained as a Zen monk in 1986 at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, California, she did monastic training until her move to Montreal in 1995 to establish a temple. Enpuku-ji offers a daily meditation schedule and retreats. Myōkyō was ordained as a Zen priest in 1999 and continues to be involved as a senior monk with her international community. Myōkyō has served as the Buddhist Chaplain at McGill and Concordia Universities for two decades.
Robert Jackson is Emeritus Professor in Religions and Education at the University of Warwick, UK, and a Visiting Professor at Stockholm University. He has contributed to the educational work of the Council of Europe since 2002 including writing Signposts (Council of Europe Publishing 2014) His book Religious Education for Plural Societies: The Selected Works of Robert Jackson, is about to be published by Routledge. In 2017, he was awarded honorary doctorates by NTNU, Trondheim and the Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.